Dec. 3, 1997
Irish Head to Arkansas for NCAA Sub-Regional
The Notre Dame volleyball team (23-8) will open NCAA Tournament play on Friday, Dec. 5 against Liberty University, with the match to be held at the University of Arkansas (in Fayetteville) at 5:00 p.m. central time ... that match will be followed by the Arkansas vs. Arkansas-Little Rock match, with the winners of the Dec. 5 matches to meet in the sub-regional final on Dec. 6 (7:00 p.m. central) ... Notre Dame had some bright moments in last week's action, taking a game from #5 UCSB and nearly taking a game from #1 Long Beach (the 49ers have won 90 of 97 games this season) ... the Irish, who won the BIG EAST Tournament to claim an automatic NCAA bid, are making their sixth straight NCAA appearance and seventh in the last 10 years ... Liberty (26-8) is making its first appearance in the NCAAs after claiming the Big South Conference automatic bid ... Arkansas (29-5), ranked #18 in the USA Today/AVCA coaches poll, is making its second consecutive NCAA appearance and is coming off an upset win over Florida in the Southeastern Conference championship match ... Ark.-Little Rock (16-12) is making its second straight NCAA appearance after winning the Southland Conference title.
NEW NCAA FORMAT: The NCAA Division I Volleyball Tournament has expanded from 48 to 56 teams this season while also introducing sub-regionals ... the top eight seeds have received first-round byes and will play host to a three-team sub-regional while the #9-#16 seeds will play host to a four-team sub-regional ... Penn State received the tournament's overall #1 seed and is the top seed in the east region while Long Beach State is the overall #2 seed (pacific region) and Stanford is the overall #3 seed (mountain region) ... Wisconsin is the overall #4 seed and top-seeded team in the central region ... the remainder of the top eight tournament seeds are as follows: #5 Florida (central), #6 UC Santa Barbara (mountain), #7 Nebraska (pacific) and #8 Brigham Young (east) ... the first and second-round matches will be held on consecutive days, ranging from Dec. 4-7 (depending on the site) ... the regionals will be held Dec. 11-14 at the site of the highest remaining seed in each region that is able to host the event ... the semifinals and finals will be Dec. 18 and 20 at the Spokane (Wash.) Arena.
CENTER OF ATTENTION: Notre Dame has been placed in the central region for the second consecutive season, after competing in the mideast in 1993 and '94 and in the pacific regional in '95 ... Wisconsin, the region's top seed, awaits the winner of the Central Florida-Clemson first-round match, with the winner of the Wisconsin subregional facing the winner of the Arkansas sub-regional in next week's regional round ... the bottom half of the central region bracket is as follows: American vs. Colorado State, with the winner facing the Lehigh-Washington State winner (WSU is the host team), and Florida State-Southern Florida, with the winner facing sub-regional host Florida ... the top-six seeded teams in the central region are Wisconsin, Florida, Washington State, Arkansas, Colorado State and Notre Dame ... should Notre Dame advance to the regional round, the Irish could be reunited with three teams that have defeated Notre Dame this season: Wisconsin, Washington State and Florida.
SERIES HISTORY: ... There is none, as Notre Dame has never faced Liberty, Arkansas or Arkansas-Little Rock ... ironically, the Irish previously have played nearly 70 percent (37 of 55) of the teams in the 1997 NCAA Tournament field, with three of the 18 that Notre Dame has not previously faced landing in the same sub-regional.
SCOUTING THE FLAMES: Liberty (26-8) heads into its first NCAA Tournament after a 3-0 win over Maryland-Baltimore County in the Big South Conference title match ... the Flames have won five straight and 10 of their last 11 ... Liberty returned five starters and 10 letterwinners from their 1996 team that went 24-10 ... the Flames are hitting .230 as a team while holding opponents to just .145 hitting ... Liberty is averaging 2.01 aces/gm (while holding opponents to 1.23), led by sophomore rightside hitter Athena Sherwood (54 aces)--a lefthanded jump-server--plus senior middle Stacy Collier (42) and senior setter Ashley Fletcher (34) ... the Flames have owned a commanding 2.54-1.35 blocks per game edge, led by the 6-2 Collier (1.08/gm) and 5-11 sophomore middle Anthonia Akpama (1.03) ... Akpama, who hails from Lagos, Nigeria, was Big South rookie of the year in '96 ... Liberty's top hitting options are Akpama (457 kills, 3.72/gm, .335 hitting pct.), sophomore hitter/middle Kyrie Dorn (357, 2.95, .221) and senior hitter Leanna Miller (131, 3.12, .255) ... Miller, the Flames' third-year team captain and an all-conference pick as a junior, has played just 42 games this season but had 16 kills in the Big South semi-finals win over Radford and 10 in the title match vs. UMBC ... Fletcher, who was named MVP of the Big South Tournament, is averaging 10.75 assists/gm but has made 31 ballhandling errors in 122 games ... Miller joined Fletcher on the Big South all-tournament team ... sixth-year Liberty head coach Chris Phillips will be retiring after the completion of the 1997 season ... Liberty's losses have come vs. Coastal Carolina (1-3), Virginia (0-3), Illinois (0-3), Biola (1-3), Pt. Loma Nazarene (0-3), Radford (2-3), Campbell (1-3) and UMBC (2-3).
NCAA HISTORY: Notre Dame has advanced to six straight NCAAs and seven of the last 10, including an appearance in the '93 Mideast regional final (a 3-0 loss to Penn St.) ... the Irish are 6-6 all-time in the NCAAs, including a 1st-round home win last season over Hofstra (3-0) and a 5-game home loss to Ohio St. in the 2nd round.
Year NCAA Record Advanced to ... Final Record 1988 1-1 Second round 19-12 1992 0-1 First round 30-8 1993 2-1 Mideast regional final 27-8 1994 1-1 Mideast regional 33-4 1995 1-1 Pacific regional 27-7 1996 1-1 Second round 22-12
PLAYING THE FIELD: Notre Dame has played 13 matches (going 5-8) vs. teams in the '97 NCAAs, including two wins vs. BIG EAST foe Villanova ... Notre Dame's 18-match non-conference schedule included 11 teams that qualified for the '97 NCAAs: Oral Roberts (3-2), Wisconsin (1-3), Washington State (0-3), Florida (1-3), Colorado (0-3), Texas A&M (0-3), Illinois State (3-2), Texas (1-3), Houston (3-2), UC Santa Barbara (1-3) and Long Beach State (0-3) ... of Notre Dame's seven non-conference opponents that did not make the NCAAs, four received votes in the AVCA poll during '97: Louisville, Utah, Georgia and North Carolina.
FAMILIARITY: Notre Dame has previously faced 37 of the other 55 teams in the '97 NCAAs and has played 36 of those teams in the seven-year tenure of Debbie Brown ... Notre Dame has faced 30 of those teams in the past four years ... in the last two seasons, the Irish have faced 22 teams in the '97 NCAAs: the 12 this season plus UOP, Penn State, Stanford, Hawaii, Ohio State, Central Florida, Clemson, Hofstra, South Carolina and Michigan in '96 ... the Irish also faced Nebraska, USC and Oklahoma in '95 and Michigan State, LMU, Butler, Florida State and Northern Illinois in '94 ... the Irish have never before faced Fairfield, Maryland, Princeton, Temple, Arkansas, Ark.-Little Rock, Liberty, American, Lehigh, Tenn.-Chattanooga, Sacramento St., Kansas St., Morgan St., Tenn. Tech, Stephen F. Austin, Pepperdine, S. Florida and UCLA ... the Irish have not faced Colorado St. in the Brown era.
SCOUTING THE RAZORBACKS: Arkansas (29-5)--in its fourth season as a varsity sport--takes a 17-match winning streak into its second straight NCAA appearance and is fresh off a 15-7, 15-7, 17-15 victory over Florida in the Southeastern Conference title match ... the Razorbacks returned seven letterwinners from their 1996 team that went 26-11 and beat Rhode Island in the NCAAs (3-2) before losing to Nebraska in four games ... the Razorbacks own a .302-.180 hitting edge on their opponents this season while averaging 1.52 aces/gm (to the opponents' 1.16) ... Arkansas' top serving threats are junior hitter Jamie Rohme (44 aces) and senior setter Tina Rico (36) ... the Razorbacks rank 11th in the nation with 3.27 blocks per game (while holding opponents to 1.91), paced by 6-2 junior middle Jessica Field (1.46/gm) and 6-2 freshman hitter Yarleen Santiago (1.30) ... Arkansas ranks 8th in the nation with 17.45 kills per game, highlighted by a balanced attack ... Santiago leads the team with 394 kills (3.49/gm) on .307 hitting, followed by senior hitter Krystal Osborne (392, 3.38, .240), junior middle Jessica Field (347, 3.10, .383), Rohme (343, 3.09, .248) and junior middle Kim Storey (298, 2.71, .364) ... Field's .383 hitting pct. ranks 14th in the nation ... Rico, Field and Santiago were named first team All-SEC while Storey and Osborne were named to the second team ... Osborne was MVP of the SEC Tournament, with Rico, Santiago and Storey joining her on the six-player all-tournament team ... Arkansas lost two five-game matches in early Sept., at then-#5 Nebraska and vs. then-#7 UOP at Nebraska before suffering midseason road losses at Illinois (0-3), Florida (0-3) and South Carolina (1-3) ... the Razorbacks own seven wins this season over teams in the '97 NCAAs: Houston (3-0), Colorado St. (3-0), Washington (3-2), Butler (3-1), Illinois St. (3-0), Oral Roberts (3-0) and S. Carolina in the SEC semifinals (3-0).
COMMON FOES: Notre Dame and Arkansas have faced five common opponents, with the Irish going 4-1 vs. those teams and the Razorbacks posting a 5-1 mark ... both teams lost to Florida in the regular season (Notre Dame at home on 9/10, 7-15, 15-10, 6-15, 3-15 and Arkansas at UF on 10/3, 13-15, 7-15, 11-15) ... Arkansas beat Florida in the SEC title match (15-7, 15-7, 17-15) ... Notre Dame beat Oral Roberts at home on 8/30 (15-12, 13-15, 16-14, 9-15, 15-9) while Arkansas downed ORU at home on 11/17 (15-5, 15-9, 16-14) ... the Irish beat Georgia at the University of Colorado Invitational on 9/13 (15-12, 15-7, 4-15, 15-5) while the Razorbacks also needed four games vs. their SEC foe in a 10/26 home match (10-15, 15-8, 16-14, 15-10) ... Arkansas came away with a 15-4, 15-13, 15-12 win at Illinois State on 9/21 before the Redbirds played their sixth straight five-game match vs. Notre Dame, on 10/7 at the Joyce Center (a 15-17, 15-7, 11-15, 16-14, 15-9 Irish win) ... Arkansas beat Houston in an 8/30 home match (15-10, 15-6, 15-5) while Notre Dame needed five games on 10/22 to beat the Cougars on their home court (15-8, 15-9, 11-15, 8-15, 15-8) ... in the five regular-season matches vs. common opponents, Arkansas won 12 of 17 games while Notre Dame won 13 of 23 ... the Razorbacks outscored the common opponents by 53 points in the regular season while the Irish were just +8.
CONFERENCE STREAK CONNECTION: Fourth-year Arkansas coach Chris Poole was part of the second-longest conference winning streak in Division I volleyball history, when he guided Arkansas State to 97 consecutive wins over conference opponents from 1976-81 ... Notre Dame's current 76-match conference winning streak ranks third in Division I volleyball history, with Western Michigan's 98-match streak from 1982-89 standing as the record ... another undefeated BIG EAST Conference run in 1998 would push Notre Dame's streak to 89 matches, meaning that an ensuing 10-0 conference start in 1999 would give the Irish a record 99 consecutive conference wins.
SCOUTING THE TROJANS: Arkansas-Little Rock (16-12) is coming off a 3-0 win over Lamar in the Sun Belt Conference title match ... the Trojans' roster includes five foreign players (three from Croatia, one from Sweden and one from Brazil) ... UALR and Notre Dame have faced three common opponents, with the Trojans losing early in the season at the Georgia Invitational to Texas A&M (0-3) and Georgia (0-3) before losing home and away matches vs. Oral Roberts (both 0-3) ... Notre Dame beat Georgia (3-1) and Oral Roberts (3-2) while losing to Texas A&M (0-3) ... the Trojans also played '97 NCAA entrant Central Florida late in the '97 season, losing in three games ... UALR is hitting just .206 for the season while averaging 2.09 aces and 2.14 blocks per game ... the Trojans' top servers are freshman hitter/middle Tanja Radovic (45 aces), junior middle Tajana Andric (40) and senior middle Barbara Gomes (36) ... Gomes leads the team with 1.02 blocks/gm ... UALR's top offensive threats are Gomes (434 kills, 4.52/gm, .278), Radovic (333, 3.83, .232) and Andric (311, 3.24, .244).
HOMESICK: The saying, "Now, we have to go home" often accompanies the end of a season for student-athletes, but for Notre Dame senior hitter Jaimie Lee, a return to her hometown of Spokane, Wash. to end her career would hold special significance, as the Spokane Arena will serve as the host site for the 1997 NCAA volleyball semifinals and championship match ... Lee and her Irish teammates already have played three matches at the facility, vs. Gonzaga, Utah and Washington State during the early-season Spikeoff Spokane.
SEEING THE COUNTRY: Since 1980, the Notre Dame volleyball program has played in 31 different states (including the upcoming trip to Arkansas), plus Washington D.C. and a summer '96 trip to Germany ... of the 33 states/districts/countries that have been visited by the Irish volleyball program, Notre Dame has travelled to 28 of them during the seven-year tenure of head coach Debbie Brown, including Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Germany, Hawaii, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, New Mexico, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Texas, Virginia, Washington, Washington, D.C. and West Virginia ... should Notre Dame advance to the potential Central Regional in Madison, Wis., the program will add another state to the Brown travel era (the Irish played at Wisconsin and Marquette prior to Brown's arrival in 1991).
DYNAMIC DUOS: Only five of the 56 programs in the 1997 NCAA Tournament have featured a pair of classmates who both have totaled 1,400-plus career kills, with that group including Oklahoma's current tandem of Patrice Arrington and Melissa Peterson ... two other teams in the 1997 NCAAs--San Diego and Notre Dame--could earn that distinction this weekend, as USD's Sara Gunsaulus has 1,393 career kills while Notre Dame's Jaimie Lee has 1,382 ... classmates are defined as players who entered a program in the same season and played together for four years (statistics prior to the beginning of NCAA-sponsored play, in 1981, were not included) ... of the 14 schools that have made 10-plus NCAA appearances, only BYU, Hawaii and USC have featured a pair of classmates with 1,400-plus kills ... perennial NCAA entrants UOP, Penn State, Stanford, UCSB, Nebraska, Texas, UCLA, Arizona, Long Beach State, Illinois State and Pepperdine have not featured such a classmate duo... the 1997 NCAA Tournament programs with classmates who have totaled 1,400 kills are as follows:
BRIGHAM YOUNG (1985-88) Dylann Duncan 2,188 Jill Sanders-Plumb 1,796 OKLAHOMA (1994-97) **ACTIVE** Patrice Arrington 1,924 Melissa Peterson 1,778 SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA (1987-90) Louise Norfleet 1,636 Megan McCallister 1,472 FLORIDA STATE (1991-94) Luiza Ramos 1,847 Deanna Bosschaert 1,436 HAWAII (1984-87) Suzanne Eagye 1,553 Reydan Ahuna 1,411 SAN DIEGO (1994-97) **ACTIVE** LaManda Mounts 1,459 Sara Gunsaulus 1,393 NOTRE DAME (1994-97)**ACTIVE** Angie Harris 1,524 Jaimie Lee 1,382
SHE CAN FLY 10,000 MILES: Senior Jaimie Lee was part of a Notre Dame team that travelled over 28,000 miles during the summer and fall of 1996 (highlighted by a July trip to Germany) ... due mostly to her summer trip to Europe for the 1997 World University Games (in Sicily, Italy), Lee covered roughly 17,000 air miles from Aug. 4 (when she checked out of the Olympic Training Center and headed to Winnipeg for the Canada Cup) to Sept. 14 (when Notre Dame returned from the Colorado Invitational) ... with nine Notre Dame 1997 roadtrips already under her belt, Lee has travelled nearly 30,000 miles (from Aug. 4-Nov. 30) in order to play the game she loves ... Lee's six-week, jet-setting streak earlier this season included: 850 miles from Colorado Springs to Winnipeg (for the Canada Cup); 717 miles from Winnipeg to Chicago; 10,300 roundtrip miles from Chicago to Sicily to South Bend; 3,160 roundtrip miles from South Bend to Spokane, Wash.; and 1,989 roundtrip miles between South Bend and Denver, Colo.
PLAYING THE BEST: Notre Dame has hit just .171 in eight matches this season vs. ranked teams but sophomore middle Mary Leffers has hit a team-best .222 in those matches while averaging 1.46 blocks/gm (above her season average of 1.25) ... Leffers' more noteworthy matches this season vs. ranked teams include 9 kills on .308 hitting vs. Florida, 14 kills at Texas and a career-best 21 kills on .444 hitting vs. UCSB ... Leffers had several solid matches vs. ranked teams as a freshman, including 10 kills on .348 hitting vs. Stanford, a career-best 12 blocks vs. Louisville and 13 kills (.333) vs. Penn State ... senior hitter Jaimie Lee has averaged 4.67 kills/gm vs. ranked teams this season, including 20 vs. Florida (on .375 hitting), 17 vs. Colorado and 25 vs. UCSB.
PTP'ER: Junior middle Lindsay Treadwell has fared much better versus non-conference opponents this season than in the BIG EAST regular season, as she has hit .308 and averaged 2.29 kills/gm in 18 matches vs. non-conference teams (including eight AVCA top-25 teams) while hitting just .221 and averaging 1.84 kills/gm in the 11 BIG EAST regular season matches ... she has hit a team-best .278 in eight matches vs. ranked opponents this season, including .368 vs. Washington State (9 kills), .318 vs. Texas (11 kills) and .429 vs. UCSB (11 kills)
FAB EIGHT: Notre Dame's 1997 roster includes eight players who were listed among Volleyball Magazine's Fab 50 recruits prior to attending Notre Dame: senior hitters Angie Harris and Jaimie Lee, senior setter Carey May, junior middle Lindsay Treadwell, sophomore middle Mary Leffers, freshman setter Denise Boylan, freshman opposite Christi Girton and freshman middle/opposite Jo Jameyson.
FAR AND WIDE: The 16 members of the 1997 Irish volleyball team call seven different states home ...the team includes five Indiana natives plus three from both Illinois and California ... the others hail from all corners of the nation, including Washington, Texas (two), Minnesota and the program's second player from Florida (Mary Leffers) ... during Debbie Brown's seven seasons, the program has welcomed players from 11 states (including Arizona, Kentucky, Michigan and Nevada) while the all-time roster includes players from 21 states.
THE HONORS ROLL IN FOR LEE: Senior hitter Jaimie Lee--who captained the U.S. to a silver-medal finish at the 1997 World University Games--repeated as BIG EAST player of the year (on Nov. 21) before earning BIG EAST Tournament MVP honors two days later ... on Nov. 24, she was one of six players named to the GTE District V All-Academic team, capping an award-packed four-day stretch for the Spokane, Wash. native (she is one of 48 Academic All-America finalists and also has been nominated for the prestigious NCAA Top VIII Award) ... Lee, a unanimous selection for player of the year, led the BIG EAST with a .451 hitting pct. in conference play while ranking 6th with 4.33 kills/gm ... for the '97 season, she ranks 4th among BIG EAST players with .299 hitting while averaging 4.40 kills (2nd BIG EAST) and a team-best 2.82 digs/gm ... in eight matches vs. nationally-ranked teams, Lee averaged 4.67 kills/gm, highlighted by 20 kills vs. then-#2 Florida and 25 last week vs. #5 UCSB ... Lee--who played middle as a freshman and served as a fill-in setter for the first half of '96--is the only player in the Notre Dame career top 10 for kills (4th; 1,382), digs (5th; 1,107), hitting (6th; .275), assists (9th; 736), aces (9th; 103) and blocks (10th; 275) ... Lee is the 5th Notre Dame player ever to total 1,000 kills and 1,000 digs ... she has appeared in 97.8% (133 of 136) of Notre Dame's matches in her career, 3rd best in Irish volleyball history ... she has played in 440 of 471 career games (.934), ranking behind only Birkner (.965) in Irish history.
HARRIS, LEFFERS, BOYLAN AND GIRTON RECEIVE BIG EAST AWARDS: Notre Dame senior hitter Angie Harris and sophomore middle Mary Leffers joined Jaimie Lee on the All-BIG EAST first team while freshman setter Denise Boylan was named second team all-BIG EAST and joined freshman opposite Christi Girton on the conference all-rookie team ... Harris ranked 6th during the BIG EAST regular season with .362 hitting in conference matches while averaging 4.18 kills/gm and serving 19 aces (0.56/gm) ... through all of '97, Harris owns a .271 overall hitting pct. while ranking 4th among BIG EAST players for kill avg. (4.14/gm) and 2nd in ace avg. (0.48/gm, 51 total) ... Leffers ranked 2nd on the BIG EAST regular season hitting pct. charts at .410, while averaging 2.97 kills and 1.07 blocks per conference game ... her overall numbers include a team-best .322 hitting pct. (3rd BIG EAST), 2.88 kills/gm, a team-best 1.25 blocks/gm (3rd BIG EAST) and 17 aces (4th on the team) ... Boylan served as the Notre Dame setter in 28 of 35 conference games while helping the Irish run away with the BIG EAST hitting pct. lead (.363 in conference matches) ... her 10 aces in the 11 conference games tied with Girton for 2nd on the team ... Boylan has directed an Irish offense that currently ranks 13th in the nation with .277 hitting, which would best the team record of .271 set in 1995 ... the 6-1 setter also ranks second on the 1997 Irish squad with 23 total aces while her other season totals include 63 kills on .268 hitting, 177 digs (4th on the team) and 63 blocks ... Girton's .401 hitting in conference matches ranked 3rd among BIG EAST players, behind Lee and Leffers, while also averaging 2.61 kills/gm and totaling 10 aces and 31 blocks (one behind Leffers' team-high 32) in conference matches ... her overall season totals include .260 hitting, 1.93 kills/gm, 119 digs, 61 blocks and 14 aces.
TUNING UP FOR THE NCAAs: During the current 10-2 run, Notre Dame has owned a commanding .308-.170 hitting edge on its opponents, highlighted by senior hitter Jaimie Lee's drive to a second straight BIG EAST player of the year award ... Lee is hitting .353 in the last 12 matches while averaging 4.34 kills/gm ... other top hitters in the last 12 matches have been sophomore middle Mary Leffers (.328, 3.03), junior middle Lindsay Treadwell (.322, 1.90), freshman opposite Christi Girton (.307, 2.18) and senior hitter Angie Harris (.289, 3.90) ... Notre Dame has allowed just 45 opponent aces (1.10/gm) during the last 12 matches.
SENIOR SALUTE: Notre Dame's class of '98--hitters Jaimie Lee and Angie Harris, setter Carey May and middle Molly McCarthy--has helped the Irish compile a four-year record of 106-30 for a .779 winning pct. that ranks third among all-time Irish classes ... the senior class has helped Notre Dame advance to the NCAAs during each of the past four seasons, including a trip to the regional round in '94 ... the Irish have gone 52-0 vs. conference opponents in the last four seasons, winning 156 of 164 conference games during that time ... each member of the senior class has posted at least one Dean's List semester and the foursome has combined for eight Dean's List semesters ... this week's trip to the NCAAs in Fayetteville, Ark. will represent the 21st different state--plus Washington, D.C. and Germany--that the Notre Dame volleyball team has visited during the seniors' career, with those trips including visits to Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Nebraska, Texas and several cities in northern and southern California.
HARRIS-LEE MAKE CASE AS BEST CLASSMATE COMBO: Notre Dame senior hitters and team co-captains Angie Harris and Jaimie Lee have established themselves as one of the top classmate duos in Irish volleyball history ... in '95, Harris (3.27) and Lee (3.91) became the only Irish teammates ever to average 3.9 kills-plus/gm in the same season and this season are on pace to both average above 4.1 kpg (Lee is at 4.40, Harris 4.14) ... Harris (1,524) and Lee (1,382) rank second and fourth on the Irish career kills list and their 2,906 combined kills rank first all-time among Irish classmates, passing the previous record held by '89 graduates Zanette Bennett (1,471) and Maureen Shea (1,193), who totaled 2,664 ... Harris and Lee rank first all-time among Notre Dame classmates with a 7.09 career kill average (Harris 3.95, Lee 3.14), 150 double-digit kill matches (Harris 85, Lee 65), 29 matches with 20-plus kills (Harris 16, Lee 13) and 334 service aces (Harris 231, Lee 103) ... Harris needs nine more digs for Harris and Lee to join Jessica Fiebelkorn and Alicia Turner (1989-92) as the second pair of Irish classmates in the 1,000 kills/1,000 digs club ... finally, Lee (.933) and Harris (.819) own a combined career-games-played percentage of .877 that bests the previous Irish record of Shea (.918) and Bennett (.833), who appeared in a combined 87.6 percent of Notre Dame's games during their careers.
BROWN GETS 300TH WIN: Debbie Brown is 189-56 (.771) in seven seasons as head coach at Notre Dame and 306-139 (.688) in 13 seasons as a Division I head coach ... Brown's 300th career victory came in the Nov. 7 home win over West Virginia (3-0) ... Brown has been named conference coach of the year in five of her first seven seasons at Notre Dame and has led 11 of her 13 Division I teams to the NCAA Tournament ... after serving as a member of the 1980 U.S. Olympic team that did not play due to boycott, Brown was head coach at Arizona State University from 1983-88 and served as a U.S. national team assistant before accepting the head coaching position at Notre Dame in 1991 ... her 1993 Notre Dame team advanced to the NCAA quarterfinals while the 1994 and '95 Irish squads advanced to the regional round of the NCAAs.
ON A ROLL: Notre Dame has won 17 of its last 20 and 10 of its last 12, with the last three losses coming at then-#9 Texas, #5 UC Santa Barbara and #1 Long Beach State ... the recent 10-match winning streak is the longest by an Irish squad since the 1994 team won 12 straight from Oct. 26 to Nov. 20 of that season ... the 10-match winning streak ranks fourth in Irish history, behind a 17-match run in 1996, the 12-match streak in 1994 and an earlier 11-match run in '94.
FRESHMEN CONTRIBUTORS: Despite having five returning starters and eight returning letterwinners from its 1996 team, Notre Dame has seen several freshmen play important roles this season ... setter Denise Boylan and opposite Christi Girton have earned starting spots in their first year with the program while Adrienne Shimmel has appeared in 79 of 108 games as a backrow player and surging middle/opposite Jo Jameyson has played in six straight matches (18 total).
FEARSOME FOURSOME: Notre Dame has hit .318 in its 17-3 run, with four players checking in with a hitting pct. of .310 or higher in that stretch: senior hitter Jaimie Lee (.349, 4.33 kills/gm), sophomore middle Mary Leffers (.350, 3.11), senior hitter Angie Harris (.313, 4.15) and freshman opposite Christi Girton (.312, 2.32) ... the fifth starting hitter, junior middle Lindsay Treadwell, has hit .302 in the last 20 matches while averaging 2.13 kpg ... Treadwell ironically fared much better versus non-conference opponents this season than in the BIG EAST regular season, as she has hit .308 and averaged 2.29 kills/gm in the first 18 matches vs. non-conference teams (including eight AVCA top-25 teams) while hitting just .221 and averaging 1.84 kpg in the 11 BIG EAST regular season matches.
BIG EAST BESTS: Notre Dame's 11-0 finish in the BIG EAST regular season can be traced to the team's dominating statistics ... three Irish players finished atop the BIG EAST hitting charts for conference games: senior hitter Jaimie Lee (.451), sophomore middle Mary Leffers (.410) and freshman opposite Christi Girton (.401) while senior hitter Angie Harris finished 6th (.362) ... Lee's 4.33 kills/ gm in conference action ranked 6th in the BIG EAST ... Harris posted the 2nd-best ace average (0.56/gm) in BIG EAST play ... Notre Dame's conference-leading .363 hitting pct. in BIG EAST matches was nearly 120 points ahead of second-place Seton Hall (.246) ... the Irish also led the BIG EAST with 16.69 kills/gm in league action while ranking 3rd in aces (1.80/gm) and 5th in blocks (2.43/gm) ... for the overall '97 season, Notre Dame players rank among the BIG EAST leaders in kills (Lee is 2nd at 4.40/gm, Harris 4th at 4.14), aces (Harris is 2nd, 0.48/gm), blocks (Leffers is 3rd, 1.25/gm) and assists (freshman Denise Boylan is 1st, 12.03/gm) ... Leffers ranks 3rd in overall hitting (.322) while Lee is 4th at .299 ... Notre Dame leads the BIG EAST in overall hitting pct. (.277, well ahead of Seton Hall's .243) and kill average (16.31/gm).
CONFERENCE CALL: Notre Dame has won 76 straight matches against conference opponents--the longest active streak in the nation--beginning with the first conference match of the Debbie Brown era: a 3-0 win at Butler on Oct. 18, 1991 ... the current streak includes Notre Dame's final 37 matches in the Midwestern Collegiate Conference (10 of which came in the MCC Tournament) and the first 39 in the BIG EAST (six coming in the BIG EAST Tournament) ... the Nov. 16 win at Seton Hall moved the Irish past Texas (73, 1984-91) into third place on the all-time Division I volleyball conference win streak list (NCAA and AIAW) behind Western Michigan (98, 1982-89) and Arkansas State (97, 1976-81) ... the current 76-match conference win streak has included 61 three-game wins (10 in postseason), 13 four-game wins (five in postseason) and just two five-game matches: vs. Loyola at the 1991 MCC Championship match, held at Butler (15-10, 7-15, 15-1, 14-16, 15-10) and at home vs. Villanova on Oct. 6, 1996 (13-15, 9-15, 15-9, 15-12, 15-12) ... 32 of Notre Dame's 39 BIG EAST wins have been 3-0, with the Irish beating Pittsburgh 3-1 four times (including last weekend), beating Villanova 3-1 in last week's BIG EAST title match and topping Boston College 3-1 earlier this season ... Central Florida currently owns a 63-match conference winning streak.
TOUGH MIDDLES: Notre Dame's starting middles--junior Lindsay Treadwell (Austin ,Texas) and sophomore Mary Leffers (Tampa, Fla.)--have established themselves as two of the top hitting leaders in Notre Dame volleyball history ... Leffers owns a .322 season hitting pct. that would rank 3rd in Irish history ... Leffers' career hitting pct. of .297 ranks 2nd in Irish history, just behind Treadwell's .299 ... Treadwell's season hitting in 1997 stands at .294, after hitting .253 as a sophomore and .367 as a freshman (third in Irish history) ... Leffers, who hit .272 as a freshman, ranks 2nd in Irish history for career block avg. (1.33/gm) and eighth for career kill avg. (2.67/gm).
SETTING THE TABLE: Denise Boylan--the first freshman to open the season as Notre Dame's setter since '88--has helped the Irish surge to a BIG EAST-leading .277 season hitting pct., which would best the team record of .271 set in '95 ... behind Boylan's setting and a veteran hitting group, the Irish offense ran away with the BIG EAST offensive stats ... the Irish hit .363 (Seton Hall was second at .246) and averaged 16.69 kills/gm in league action ... Boylan leads the BIG EAST in overall matches with 12.03 assists/gm, which would rank fourth in Irish history ... she also ranks fourth on the '97 Irish squad with 177 digs (1.81/gm) while her other season totals include 63 kills on .268 hitting, 23 service aces (second on the team) and 63 blocks (5 solos) ... Boylan is averaging an impressive 54 assists per ballhandling error during her freshman season (1,179/22) ... she is one of three members of Notre Dame's freshman class who were named to the Volleyball magazine national Fab 50 (the others are hitters/middle blockers Christi Girton and Jo Jameyson).
31-MATCH CHECKUP: With the regular season in the books, several Irish players remain on pace for noteworthy statistical campaigns ... senior hitters Jaimie Lee (4.40 kills/gm) and Angie Harris (4.14 kpg) currently own the second and fifth-best kill averages in Irish history and could become the first Notre Dame teammates ever to average four-plus kills per game in the same season ... Lee and Harris already are the only Irish teammates ever to both average over 3.9-kills per game in the same season (doing so in 1995, Harris at 4.27 kpg and Lee at 3.91) and each currently ranks among Notre Dame's top-four career kill average leaders (Harris is first at 3.95 kills/gm, Lee is fourth at 3.14 kpg) ... sophomore middle Mary Leffers' owns a .322 season hitting pct. that would rank third in Irish history and second-best by a Notre Dame player since 1986 ... freshmen setter Denise Boylan's assist average of 12.03/gm would rank fourth in Irish history ... Harris' season ace avg. (0.48/gm) would be fourth in Irish history (she already owns the top three averages) ... Lee is averaging 2.82 digs/gm, giving her a combined kill/dig average of 7.22/gm that would rank third in Irish history .... as a team, Notre Dame's 16.31 kills per game would rank second in Irish history (just behind the '95 team's 16.32) while the team hitting pct. of .277 is on pace to best the team record (.271) set in '95 ... the Irish passers have allowed just 1.24 opponent aces per game, which would rank third-best in team history.
2-3-4-5: The '97 Notre Dame volleyball team includes some of the best hitting combinations in the program's history ... senior hitters Jaimie Lee (4.40 kills/gm) and Angie Harris (4.14) are on pace to become the first Irish teammates to average over four kills per game in the same season ... sophomore middle Mary Leffers (2.88 kills/gm) gives the Irish the program's second-best hitting threesome, behind the '87 trio of Zanette Bennett (4.03), Kathy Cunningham (3.43) and Maureen Shea (3.12) ... with junior middle Lindsay Treadwell (2.16) and freshman opposite Christi Girton (1.93) in the mix, the Irish have one the best groups of starting hitters in the program's history ... during the last 20 matches, the production of Lee (4.33), Harris (4.15), Leffers (3.11) and Girton (2.32) is comparable to that of the '87 team's season totals (when Mary Kay Waller rounded out that foursome with 2.63 kpg), with Treadwell also averaging 2.13 kills/gm over the last 20 matches ... during the last 20 matches, Lee (.349), Leffers (.350), Harris (.313) and Girton (.312) have posted solid hitting numbers, with Girton hitting .435-plus in nine of those matches ... the team is hitting .318 in the current run while the Irish have held the opposition to a combined .180 hitting during those 20 matches.
ACE IN THE HOLE: Senior hitter Angie Harris continues to add to her prominence in the Irish record book ... she owns seven service ace records (including 228 in her career, a career average of 0.600/gm and nine in a match) while her career kill average of 3.95/gm would set a new Irish record in that category, surpassing the 3.82 set by '95 grad. Christy Peters ... Harris has 1,524 kills in her career, second on the Irish career kills list behind Peters (1,683) ... Harris' 85 career matches with double-digit kills has bested Peters' record (80) ... Harris ranks 2nd to only Peters (19) with 16 career 20-plus kill matches, including five in 1997 ... in terms of career double-double matches (kills/digs), Harris is tied with former teammate Jenny Birkner (1993-96) for third, with 34 ... her career dig average of 2.57/gm ranks 7th all-time at Notre Dame ... Harris' 992 career digs rank 7th all-time, 33 behind Janelle Karlan (1990-93) ... Harris needs nine digs to join classmate Jaimie Lee as the sixth Notre Dame player with 1,000 career kills and 1,000 career digs.
No. Player Pos. Ht. Cl. Hometown/High School 1997 Stats 2 Denise Boylan S 6-1 Fr. Lisle, IL/Benet Academy .277 team hitting, 1176 asts/22 BHE, 12.03 apg, 23 aces, 1.81 digs/gm 4 Jaimie Lee OH 5-11 Sr. Spokane, WA/Ferris 4.40 kills/gm, .299 hitting, 2.82 digs/gm, 22 aces 6 Angie Harris OH 6-0 Sr. Fort Wayne, IN/Bishop Luers 4.14 kills/gm, .271 hitting, 51 aces (0.48/gm), 2.57 digs/gm 7 Christi Girton OPP 6-3 Fr. Muncie, IN/Muncie Central 1.93 kills/gm, .260 hitting, 1.43 digs/gm, 61 blocks (0.73/gm) 8 Mary Leffers MB 6-4 So. Tampa, FL/Berkeley Prep 2.88 kills/gm, .322 hitting, 1.25 blocks/gm, 17 aces 13 Lindsay Treadwell MB 5-11 Jr. Austin, TX/Austin 2.16 kills/gm, .294 hitting, 2.26 digs/gm, 14 aces, 1.10 blocks/gm No. Player Pos. Ht. Cl. Hometown/High School 1997 Stats 3 Carey May S 5-9 Sr. Rancho Santa Fe, CA/Torrey Pines 249 assists (9.58/gm), 7 kills, 43 digs, 10 block assists 9 Jo Jameyson MB 6-1 Fr. Alvin, TX/Alvin 29 kills (1.21/gm), .222 hitting, 30 digs, 5 aces, 8 block assists 12 Adrienne Shimmel OH 5-11 Fr. Mission Viejo/Capistrano Valley 75 digs (0.95/gm), 8 kills, 2 block assists 14 Molly McCarthy MB 6-0 Sr. Indianapolis, IN/Cathedral 24 kills, 120 digs (1.38/gm), 1 ace, 6 block assists
USA Today/AVCA Poll (12/1) Team (1st place votes) W-L Points 1. Long Beach St. (44) 30-1 1481 2. Penn State (9) 30-1 1433 3. Stanford (7) 28-2 1403 4. Wisconsin 30-2 1317 5. UC Santa Barbara 30-4 1253 6. Brigham Young 27-5 1191 7. USC 21-5 1116 8. Florida 31-3 1049 9. Nebraska 25-6 999 10. Arizona 20-6 978 11. Washington State 24-6 850 12. Texas 23-6 836 13. Washington 18-9 788 14. Univ. of the Pacific 22-8 667 15. Hawaii 25-7 633 16. Texas A&M 24-7 618 17. Pepperdine 23-5 535 18. Arkansas 29-5 473 19. Maryland 26-1 423 20. Colorado 20-8 315 21. Colorado State 26-5 306 22. Loyola Marymount 21-6 281 23. San Diego 25-3 267 24. UCLA 16-12 133 25. Ohio State 21-9 63 Others receiving votes: Michigan (31), Minnesota (8),Notre Dame (8), N.Illinois (7), Clemson (5), Michigan St. (5), S. Florida (5), Sacramento St. (4), S. Carolina (4), Illinois St. (3), Temple (3), Houston (2), Oklahoma (2), Miami, OH (1), Oral Roberts (1), Texas Tech (1), Utah (1).
PERCENTAGE OF GAMES PLAYED 1. Jenny Birkner ('93-'96) .965 (473/490) 2. Jaimie Lee ('94- ) .934 (440/471) PERCENTAGE OF MATCHES PLAYED 1. J. Karlan ('90-'93) 1.000 (145/145) Jenny Birkner ('93-'96) 1.000 (140/140) 3. Jaimie Lee ('94- ) .978 (133/136) GAMES PLAYED 1. Janelle Karlan (1990-93) 491 2. Jenny Birkner (1993-96) 473 3. Maureen Shea (1985-88) 472 4. Brett Hensel (1992-95) 461 5. Alicia Turner (1989-92) 448 6. Jessica Fiebelkorn (1989-92) 447 7. Christy Peters (1991-94) 441 8. Jaimie Lee (1994- ) 440 MATCHES PLAYED 1. Janelle Karlan (1990-93) 145 2. Molly Stark (1990-93) 141 3. Jenny Birkner (1993-96) 140 Brett Hensel (1992-95) 140 5. Maureen Shea (1985-88) 137 6. Alicia Turner (1989-92) 134 7. Jaimie Lee (1994- ) 133 HITTING PERCENTAGE (min. 900 att.) 1. Lindsay Treadwell (1995- ) .299 2. Mary Leffers (1996- ) .297 3. Zanette Bennett (1985-88) .289 4. Mary Kay Waller (1985-88) .279 5. Jenny Birkner (1993-96) .278 6. Jaimie Lee (1994- ) .275 7. Marilyn Cragin (1989-91) .268 8. Angie Harris (1994- ) .248 KILLS 1. Christy Peters (1991-94) 1,683 2. Angie Harris (1994- ) 1,524 3. Zanette Bennett (1985-88) 1,471 4. Jaimie Lee (1994- ) 1,382 TOTAL ATTEMPTS 1. Christy Peters (1991-94) 4,471 2. Angie Harris (1994- ) 3,761 KILLS PER GAME (min. 650 kills) 1. Angie Harris (1994- ) 3.95 2. Christy Peters (1991-94) 3.82 3. Zanette Bennett (1985-88) 3.44 4. Jaimie Lee (1994- ) 3.14 5. Jessica Fiebelkorn (1989-82) 2.91 6. Mary Kay Waller (1985-88) 2.86 7. Marilyn Cragin (1989-92) 2.73 8. Mary Leffers (1996- ) 2.63 DOUBLE-DIGIT KILL MATCHES 1. Angie Harris (1994- ) 85 2. Christy Peters (1991-94) 80 3. Zanette Bennett (1985-88) 68 4. Jaimie Lee (1994- ) 65 20-PLUS KILL MATCHES 1. Christy Peters (1991-94) 19 2. Angie Harris (1994- ) 16 Zanette Bennett (1985-88) 16 4. Jaimie Lee (1994- ) 13 DOUBLE-DOUBLE MATCHES (kills/digs) 1. Christy Peters (1991-94) 64 2. Jessica Fiebelkorn (1989-92) 42 3. Angie Harris (1994- ) 34 Jenny Birkner (1993-96) 34 5. Jaimie Lee (1994- ) 32 ASSISTS 1. Janelle Karlan (1990-93) 5,197 2. Taryn Collins (1986-89) 3,033 3. Carey May (1994- ) 2,793 4. Shannon Tuttle (1992-94) 1,727 5. Julie Bremner (1988) 1,340 6. Kathleen Morin (1984-87) 1,142 7. Denise Boylan (1997- ) 1,179 8. Jill Suglich (1984-87) 805 9. Jaimie Lee (1994- ) 736 ASSIST AVERAGE 1. Carey May (1994- ) 12.09 2. Shannon Tuttle (1992-94) 11.07 SERVICE ACES 1. Angie Harris (1994- ) 231 2. Alicia Turner (1989-92) 135 3. Mary Kay Waller (1985-88) 116 4. Christy Peters (1991-94) 112 Jessica Fiebelkorn (1989-92) 112 6. Zanette Bennett (1985-88) 111 7. Nicole Coates (1991-94) 108 8. Jenny Birkner (1993-96) 106 9. Jaimie Lee (1994- ) 103 ACES PER GAME (min. 80 aces) 1. Angie Harris (1994- ) 0.600 2. Nicole Coates (1991-94) 0.329 3. Alicia Turner (1989-92) 0.301 4. Mary Kay Waller (1985-88) 0.280 5. Jessica Fiebelkorn (1989-92) 0.273 6. Taryn Collins (1986-89) 0.269 7. Zanette Bennett (1985-88) 0.259 8. Christy Peters (1991-94) 0.254 9. Tracy Shelton (1987-90) 0.237 10. Jaimie Lee (1994- ) 0.234 ACE-TO-ERROR RATIO 1. Molly Stark (1990-93) 1.731 2. Christy Peters (1991-94) 1.436 3. Kathleen Morin (1984-87) 1.118 4. Lindsay Treadwell (1995- ) 1.046 5. Whitney Shewman (1985-88) 1.034 6. Jaimie Lee (1994- ) .972 DIGS 1. Christy Peters (1991-94) 1,640 2. Jenny Birkner (1993-96) 1,359 3. Jessica Fiebelkorn (1989-92) 1,324 4. Alicia Turner (1989-92) 1,196 5. Jaimie Lee (1994- ) 1,107 6. Janelle Karlan (1990-93) 1,025 7. Angie Harris (1994- ) 992 TOTAL BLOCKS 1. Mary Kay Waller (1985-88) 699 2. Maureen Shea (1985-88) 527 3. Jessica Fiebelkorn (1989-92) 504 4. Zanette Bennett (1985-88) 434 5. Jenny Birkner (1993-96) 358 6. Molly Stark (1990-93) 350 7. Janelle Karlan (1990-93) 313 8. Cynthia May (1989-92) 307 9. Mary Leffers (1996- ) 284 10. Jaimie Lee (1994- ) 275 -- Lindsay Treadwll (1995- ) 266 BLOCK AVERAGE 1. Mary Kay Waller (1985-88) 1.68 2. Mary Leffers (1996- ) 1.33 3. Jessica Fiebelkorn (1989-92) 1.13 4. Maureen Shea (1985-88) 1.12 5. Jennifer Rouse (1993-96) 1.11 6. Cynthia May (1989-92) 1.02 7. Zanette Bennett (1985-88) 1.01 8. Molly Stark (1990-93) .871 9. Lindsay Treadwell (1995- ) .858